Phantom Seer | Review
Rating - ⭐⭐⭐1/2
"If something strange and mysterious occurs, you should go to him. They say he has psychic powers, but convincing him to actually help deal with fierce phantoms may be a challenge."
Phantom Seer is a manga written by Togo Goto and illustrated by Kento Matsuura.
This is a series I read for my ongoing reading challenge where I read cancelled manga to see if they were worth it or not or if they deserved better than the ending they got. (If you want to check that out you can find it here). As such, before I get into anything, I want to state that, yes, this series was cancelled. If you are looking to read this keep in mind that you are not going to get a complete story.
Phantom Seer was serialized in Weekly Shōnen Jump from 2020-2021 with 30 chapters collected into 4 volumes. Reception for this series was actually pretty positive considering the first volume got sold out and had to be reprinted. Shonen Jump also received backlash from fans for cancelling the series, which again goes to show that this was positively received.
What did I think of it though? Well, let's get straight into the details to find out.
I wasn't sure how much I liked the art as the artist utilized a lot of gray tones. It does use stark blackness really well though which I always like. What I will give this story is that it has some really good creepy imagery in this. In terms of character design, I loved Yayoi's design, though I will get more into that later on. Iori though is often done making a lot of ugly faces, kind of like Reigen from Mob Psycho 100.
I do also think that the fight scenes could have been done better, as they were a little lacklustre.
Going into it I knew nothing about it, but the title grabbed my attention. Overall I thought the series was okay, but in terms of content, it was right up my alley. We follow Iori, a Shaman, and Riku, his classmate who draws phantoms to herself. The plot is rather formulaic at times as we simply follow the two, plus the addition of a few other characters, exorcising different phantoms. I will say though, that the reveals are placed very well within the story.
The story I find did have some potential to be really good, especially once it really started to delve into Iori's backstory and all the enemies that come with it. That being said though, this is very visibly not a complete story. The arc does sort of wrap up, but only the arc and not the entire story. Instead of hurrying up and throwing out some semblance of an ending, though that probably wouldn't have been a good thing, we are left with this grander story that never got fully explored.
In this world, non-humans that cause strange occurrences are phantoms. Shamans are people exorcise, if that is the proper term, phantoms who cause harm. One thing I like about this world is the magic system, in that a Shaman's abilities does not come from themself, but by harnessing the powers of a given phantom. Iori, for example, possesses the abilities of the shadow demon Ongyoki.
There are Shaman organizations but it doesn't dig too much into it considering the point at which the story stopped.
I think what I liked least about this series is the characters. The introductions were very abrupt with very little context or initial buildup given to connect with the characters. First up though, we have Iori. Iori is a shaman who wants little to do with helping people. At first, that was a bit offputting, because while I get why he is your typical self-sacrificing lead (and I like that), not bothering to help people in need is odd. Once we got to learn more about him and his backstory though it made more sense.
Riku was a bit annoying both in terms of her personality as well as the development of her character arc. She was rather useless, despite having an ability that gave her a sixth sense of sorts. Despite that, she ignores the things she feels and sees. She is also dead weight when it came to fights because, well, she kind of was just there being of no help. She does end up progressing but it happens way too quickly.
The sister though, Yayoi, right away I liked her characters. Pretty much every anime/manga fan loves a good blindfolded character, and I am no different. That probably is due to the fact that they are guaranteed to be an absolute powerhouse of a character, and ... is no exception to this. She kind of reminds me of Yuuko from xxxHolic as she has the same kind of mysterious yet regal air about her.
As it stands where the story stopped, I do think it was an okay story. It wasn't the greatest, but it also had a lot of potential. Had it gone on just a bit further than the story would have started to pick up more and the story and world would have been explored more.